by Sep 2, 2016G.R.O.W Harrisburg

G.R.O.W. Harrisburg stands for Growing Our Own Wellness.  It is a multi-partner, multi-program, neighborhood and volunteer effort. Together seek to transform the neighborhood of Harrisburg from an unhealthy food desert into a healthy food destination. The goal is to alleviate diet-related illnesses and health disparities among neighborhood residents and, in doing so, set a model program for other communities. 

G.R.O.W. Harrisburg currently has seven simultaneous projects running in the neighborhood, several supported by evidence-based research projects.

  1. VEGGIE TRUCK FARMERS MARKET – Now in its seventh year, this is the only all-local farmers market in Richmond County that also doubles EBT/SNAP/food stamps. 
  2. HARRISBURG HOME GARDENING EDUCATION  – This program installs raised beds for vegetable gardening at individuals’ homes, free of charge, and includes monthly visits to each home for help with gardening tips, weeding, soil amending, harvest and even recipes.
  3. FVRx-AUGUSTA – Our Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program will enter its 5th year in 2019. The program prescribes fresh fruits and vegetables to residents who are dealing with diet-related illnesses.  The prescription is taken to our Veggie Truck Farmers Market and each participant is able to take home locally-grown fruits and vegetables for his/her family, free of charge.  This is done in partnership with the Harrisburg Family Healthcare Clinic and Wholesome Wave Georgia.
  4. TEACHING GARDENS & SHARED GREENHOUSE – This initiative includes several teaching gardens and a greenhouse where people come to grow seedlings at Icebox Urban Farm.
  5. TEACHING KITCHENS – At neighborhood teaching kitchens, our partners instruct classes for the FVRx program and a school lunch-making program.
  6. PLANT-BASED COMMUNITY MEALS – We host four free, veggie-centered community meals each year. These are beautiful farm-to-tables dinner, healthy and elegant, shared by people of all income levels and backgrounds.
  7. VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS – Perhaps our most challenging initiative is engaging hundreds of volunteers who come our way: youth groups, corporate groups, congregations, students, clubs, and, of course, gardeners.  

Here is what some neighborhood residents have said about the G.R.O.W. Harrisburg initiative recently:

“Lately being in my garden has been my anchor to reality. I have had so much pleasure from my little plot of dirt….” – Pam

“I’m so grateful for my garden. It has helped me in so many ways. Being a single parent is not easy, and sometimes with it comes stress and depression. The garden not only helps with fruits & veggies, but also with meditation and spiritual growth. I love it. Thank you so much. It’s a wonderful program.” – Lucy

“In my retirement, I needed to get outside and do something productive. The garden is that.” – James

“The benefit to me is that I get to create something for the kids in the community.” – Henry